What comes after the joy of Easter? Power and mission. For the seven weeks we have been joyfully celebrating the good news that Jesus is risen. We have been reflecting on some of the many ways that the good news of Easter affects our lives by assuring us that every end in God’s hands can be a transformative new beginning.
And now, the Easter season will end with the Day of Pentecost – a day that crowns the good news of Jesus’ resurrection with the pouring out of the Spirit of resurrection life on God’s people. The Spirit first given on Pentecost fills Jesus’ followers with the power that creates faith in God’s gracious love for us; that provides direction and guidance for our lives; and that provides the energy, creativity, perseverance and courage necessary to do what God’s Spirit asks.
The intensity and force of that Spirit is described as violent wind and tongues of fire. This is no gentle spring breeze that ruffles our hair but leaves us unmoved! It is a titanic force capable of moving everything – including us – to be God’s people in the world. Why is emphasizing the Spirit’s forcefulness important? Because we so often suffer from inertia and paralysis. We’re afraid, so we don’t do what God asks. Or we’re just so comfortable that we’d rather stay put. So God’s Spirit is a mighty Spirit that disturbs us, rattles us, sweeps us away, sets us on fire. We need such a mighty Spirit to set us in motion, and to keep us moving, once we’re in motion.
It’s not unusual in congregations to forget that God intends us to be going someplace and to be up and doing in Jesus’ name. While Christian faith requires times of stillness and silence in order to hear God’s voice, we listen for God’s voice so that we can get up and live as God directs. And God directs us to believe that we can do more than we think we can. We can take on big, hairy tasks in Jesus’ name, because of the Holy Spirit. Those tasks may begin small, like the mustard seed of Jesus’ parable. Nonetheless, those mustard-seed beginnings can become amazing irruptions of the Spirit that love and bless others in transformative ways.
The Transition Team has been getting acquainted and being trained in their work. In not too much time, they will be planning events and asking the congregation to participate. Working from the power of the Spirit, they will ask the congregation to get up and move in Spirit-led ways. The temptation will be to stay comfortable or to be afraid. So we are called to remember that the Spirit can and will get us moving – for the Spirit has important work for this congregation to do. Where that Spirit will lead is still unknown. But the call to move under the Spirit’s direction and power is clear. Now is the time to be filled with the Spirit, and then to move and serve as the Spirit gives GST ability to serve.
Thank in you advance for your willingness to follow the Transition Team’s leadership and participate in the events they will plan. Your willingness to respond will demonstrate your Easter faith. Jesus is risen! May his resurrecting Spirit of love move GST in powerful ways!